Watched any good movies recently?

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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:37 pm

I think Tom Cruise can do certain roles really well, just not one where he needs to be the quick humour guy. Hope you enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody!
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:59 pm

Tried 2018 comedy Dear Dictator which is about a teenager writing to a Castro like dictator and then his coming to stay. The one bit that shines is the letters between the two people in very different worlds provided amusement but when they met, there wasn't comedy or spark of any kind. Michael Caine's dictator lacks charisma or force,Tatiana (Odeya Rush) is making unbelievably stupid decisions and mother Darlene (Katie Holmes) is a trope.


Watched rom-com One Small Hitch as we needed something short and nothing too good. Premise: When Josh Shiffman (Shane McRae) is heading home for a wedding, he discovers his father Max (Shane McRae) is dying and wishing to fulfil the old man's wish, asks his best friends sister Molly Mahoney (Aubrey Dollar)to fake being his fiancé. Nothing could go wrong....

This is not a particularly well made film, it doesn't offer anything new or fresh to the genre but follows the staples, John Burgess struggles to get pace right with some slow downs, Dode B. Levenson's script has some logic issues and messes up ending. What works is that the side characters are likeable enough and provides enough charm, Josh takes awhile to warm to in any way due to jerk opening and McRae doesn't bring much chemistry but Dollar brings a fair bit of charm and a bit of sparkle to carry the film into a likeable enough thing.

Both: 6.0

====

The Mummy round 2. With my hearing half back and subtitles on.... The first segment went along nicely, the Mummy was well used with the right level of mystery+horror and Sofia Boutella doing a good job, Jenny's (Annabelle Wallis) contempt for the lead is funny, some decent action scenes with a bit of mystic in them and alright comedy when the males are not involved. Jake Johnson as the wisecracking Chris had his moments
particularly when dead
but more miss then hits with the humour and failed to have chemistry with Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise was a major problem (even leaving aside my slight suspicion that story was written to make his character more awesome), I'm not sure he really bounced off anyone in that movie and he was horribly miscast. His character Nick is the rogue with a possible heart trope, the wisecracks, the naughty boy charm, the misdeeds... played by Tom Cruise. Leaving aside the lack of chemistry with anyone else in the film (which is a teensy bit of a problem), Cruise does not bring the sense of a rogue, jokes die on his lips. Funny things happen but it is involving someone else providing the humour against or involving him, the amusement fails when coming from him.

We get to part 2 which we will call Universe Building. They wanted a Universal Monsters universe (this flopped so that isn't happening) and spent a fair bit of part 2 on it. Not just nods but explaining monsters, connections, bringing in Russell Crowe's character and making him a key figure in this. Crowe's character
Dr Jekyll
isn't uninteresting and wouldn't minded seeing more of him if there had been sequels though performance was erratic
as Jekyll, thought his performance was intresting, intelligent, ruthless but Hyde led to awful accent and lacked impact even once one ignored accent
. The Mummy and co weren't neglected as such and there were some intresting bits but some of the flaws that hit phase 3 start here, flipping to universe building took momentum out as ones mind adjusted and felt balance was wrong.

Then part 3 aka back to Mummy adventure and ending. We get back to the main adventure but it fails to manage what part 1 at least offered. The action fails to excite in any way shape or form, Tom Cruise still fails to land the role even as the writing shifts to more his kind of character while the writing damages Jenny and the Mummy
amusing Jenny becomes besotted "can spot the golden heart beneath" and the ambitious complex Mummy instead becomes all about how she falls for same guy. Having the Mummy speaks English was one of the moves that cost the Mummy mystique
as they make it all about Cruise. The Mummy also loses a sense of mystique as time goes on due to decisions made.

Would a Monster Universe have appealed to me? Somewhat but that is despite this film, I liked the potential for Crowe's character and would have warmly welcomed the return of Boutella's Mummy but certain characters I really wanted written off. I like horror, I like action adventure movies and a good monster that this initially seemed to have for a time.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:37 pm

Tried Innerspace but the opening didn't really gel for us and we were getting bored before we seemed to be anywhere near the shrinking part. Tried Children of Men which had an intresting premise and stuff going on in background but found our enjoyment faded in and out, it could be good for a spell then have a bit more of a rough patch. Tried Martha Marcy May Marlene but simply didn't get into it, seemed well done tough.

Watched Guy Ritchie's version of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword where he grows up in a brothel and there are giant war elephants, meant to start six film franchise as he did the sword and stone thing but didn't do well enough. As an addition to King Arthur, it felt more like a Guy Ritchie movie then something that brought something new to the legend (bar said elephants), as a film it was passable but flawed. Was odd seeing Katie McGrath of the BBC show Merlin in a minor role here.

Cast do a decent job though Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey's performance as mage seemed to deteriorate, characters (those that were in long enough) were nice enough but there were too far many of them and some we were left wondering what exactly the point was of having them in. Jude Law made a capable villain and had some good scenes imposing his evilness, but humour is more miss then hit though Aidan Gillen tended to land his lines. Guy Ritchie tries to shake things up with the way characters tell stories but it often kills the humour and the momentum of the tale. His action scenes are inventive in way they are done but can be more disorientating then helpful, I wasn't bored during them but only the opening action gave a bit of oomph.

Both: 6.0

=====

Watched Korean zombie movie Train to Busan. Premise: Fund manager Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) promises his young daughter Su-an (Kim Su-an) to visit divorced mother for her birthday after letting her down recently. As train leaves, a zombie virus breaks out in the country and in the train....

The sound quality is poor, we had to ramp up volume for even those without hearing problems, but this is otherwise a well made zombie film. The zombie rules are generally consistent till near end, the zombie effects and movement are used well for effect during the action/tense scenes, they built up to the attacks well and provide well done glimpses of the outside world at the right times. They build up enough background on main 2 to care while Sang-hwa (Ma Dong-seok)+pregnant wife Seong-kyeong (Jung Yu-mi) provide a warm likeable comedy duo and there is a good baddie character
Yon-suk (Kim Eui-sung)
. The ending moment is good but the film did feel like it went on just that bit too long and lost impact as a few more twists got thrown in.

Both: 7.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:12 am

Just got back from Bohemian Rhapsody.

We enjoyed it! Apparently it takes a few too many liberties with the truth, which may bother some who know Queen's history well already, but we had no complaints. All I could really gripe about is that it takes Rami Malek some time to really lock into the role, he is great once he finds his footing but it does seem to take him some time to do so. By the Live Aid performance things are firing on all cylinders. I will leave it at that since the movie is still out in theaters.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:00 pm

Glad you enjoyed it Zy

Tried Lady Bird as we had really liked Mistress America and had heard really good things about Greta Gerwig's film. Technically it was really well done, covered themes I don't often see like financial decline, Saoirse Ronan's in character is intriguingly either refusing to face up to truth or blind to what is going on around her and extremely self absorbed. The cast is good but... it just didn't quite click for us.

Tried Spierig Brothers vampire movie Daybreakers which instantly cuaght our eye in opening credits with its world building. Clearly a lot of thought about i's premise where vampires are the majority and the very ordinary lives they lead, things like how advertising and public services would change, the issues it would bring up. However despite Sam Neill's flair as the big corporate boss, the characters and performances didn't come alive, it wasn't pulling us in and when it went away from the wider world towards the characters adventure, it lost something.

Tried horror film Mother!, had moments of atmosphere and one got the sense of tension and disagreement between the couple (played by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem) but wasn't engaged and pace was so very slow, felt like film was going nowhere anytime soon. So we swapped

=====

Watched Alien: Covenant and wasn't a fan. It looks good and cast do well but if it hadn't been part of the Alien films, I would have left during its very slow opening. It is a film that has little moments, be it the alien horror moments or something between characters but Ridley Scott failed to build around it successfully. Pace is slow and horror or tension can be undermined by going on just a bit too long, characters show promise early on but aren't developed and all but android plus possibly one other
Janet Daniels (Katherine Waterston)
are amazingly unprofessional in terms of reactions, attitudes and tendency to do stupid things.

It does pick up when Fassbander really gets to show what he can do
ie David's return
and the horror elements can start to come into play. The crew are still shocking in their lack of professionalism and nobody that really pulls one in to root for or follow, themes are touched on
religion in age of science could have been something, David
but either not explored or botched which is a pity as I had liked that with Prometheus. Ending was a good idea that could have done with some editing.

Me: 5.5, Sis: 6.0

=====

After Mother!, watched groundhog day style horror Happy Death Day which seemed to get nice reviews at the time. Premise: Student Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up in stranger Carter's (Israel Broussard) bed on a special day. By the end of the day, she is murdered and wakes up back in Carter's bed. Can she escape the time loop of murder?

Set up may have slightly suffered switching from one horror set up to another but once it bedded down, we had a nice time and while it wasn't a great film, we immediately hoped for a sequel. Its horror and humour elements aren't plentiful but each such moment of creepy or humour is well timed and done well. Tree is fleshed out fairly well and one likes her despite being "the mean girl", cast do a good job and some nice critiques of the slasher/college comedy genre.

Of course its main thing is Groundhog day and they do it well, using Tree's varied reactions as she wakes up each morning, having her do different stuff (though would have liked more "no consequences" groundhog humour scenes). Scott Lobdell explores some practical implications to what is happening to Tree, evolving personalities and relations. It avoids the "oh not this again" trap and keeps things fresh while having the murder mystery which leads to an enjoyable ending.

Me: 6.5, Sis: 6.0
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:12 am

Innerspace: That's too bad you couldn't get through the opening Dong Zhou, I haven't seen it on TV in years but it was easily one of my childhood favorites.

Watched The Road with my wife the other night after getting bored by A Quiet Place. Plot was a bit different from what I remembered but I finally got to watch it in its entirety and wife seemed to enjoy it. Very good sets and mystique to the world, but yes it is bleak and not for those seeking something optimistic to watch.

Next we watched Alongside the Road, which I read was doing the indy circuit rounds for a while. Outlandish but interesting premise where a guy gets roped into going on a road trip with a European lady visiting the US. Has glimpses of ingenuity but never quite hits its stride and ends on a kind of souring note that, while going against tropes, left me dissatisfied and annoyed I had sat through this.

Last we watched Dirty Grandpa. It's too ridiculous to seriously comment on, however. Seeing Robert De Niro play a dirty old man has its moments, but the film is a chaotic mess.
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:30 pm

I hadn't heard of Alongside the Road but sorry it went really badly for you Zy at the end. Been a good week for films for me

Watched Gary Ross's satirical comedy drama Pleasantville. Premise: Student David (Tobey Maguire) is obsessed with 1950's sitcom Pleasantville which is very safe and pure, he is looking forward to the yearly marathon. However his more outgoing sister Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) has plans for a date in front of TV, plans rather disrupted when they both get sucked into Pleasantville with two very different reactions to this turn of events...

The first half is glorious, the black and white camera work by John Lindley looks stunning, the cast do a very good job, characters are quickly built up. The contrast between Jennifer and David's attitudes is used well and the impacts the town to humorous and romantic effect and the initial splashes of colour seeping in has enjoyable visual impact. The film has fun with the way such shows were done, the small world, the good fortune, the lack of peril but it also explores the characters within it to intresting effect and what such towns represent. They get humour exploring ideas and then seeing those ideas begin to unravel due to the, usually, accidental impact of the twins and Jennifer's attitude of a modern student in this 50's safe world. They also get full impact from others reacting to these new ideas or things like Jennifer's seduction on clean living 50 teenagers.

It was funny, thoughtful, with a punch but the second half never lived up to it. Jennifer gets pushed to the sidelines and they badly miss her attitude+sense of humour, colour becomes more and more mainstream while never looking as good as the black and white. While the story generally wrapped everyone's storylines well, its key lessons for the twins felt mishandled, the points it tried to make became increasingly less subtle so lost impact, only one romance really sparked
Bill (Jeff Daniels) and Betty (Joan Allen) had chemistry and good use of art
. David ended up being the centre of all things and guide to all which I don't think was intent but certainly felt clumsy and takes up most of the screen time. There was still humour, mostly revolving around the father's inept confusion to the changing world but less of it. Still, glad I saw this however much the second half lost the sparkle of the first.

Both: 7.0

======

Watched comedy Game Night. Premise: Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are two people who are very competitive at games, they meet, fall in love and marry, hosting regular game nights with their friends. This time Max's more successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting a kidnapping mystery game night and nothing could possibly go wrong....

Felt like awhile since we have had a really good comedy, had some intresting ones but not so laugh out loud. The start (with the set up of the couple) and the end are great, writer Max Perez and co-directors John Francis Daley+Jonathan Goldstein able to focus on enjoyable setplays with pace, momentum and jokes. The bits between that are not quite as good as jokes have to be spaced out and it needs to take a slower pace but still a better comedy then we have had for awhile.

Perez does a good job outside of jokes, ensuring each set (the couple+brother, the Sterlings played by Kylie Bunbury and Lamorne Morris, then lastly the idiot Ryan and his date Sarah played by Billy Magnussen+Sharon Horgan) are well balanced, strands generally get wrapped up at the end, knowing what audience is likely to think and playing with it. The main set and the Sterlings are consistently strong with very good jokes, chemistry, nice storylines but team Ryan is a weak point. Horgan is a good comic actress but she doesn't click here, their story is the weakest relying on Ryan's stupidity+some great reactions to said stupidity
it also doesn't get wrapped up
. The comic cast do a good job not only in their own jokes but in reacting to others, the type of comedy is varied, there are some good twists or ones that one can see coming but are done in a very enjoyable way.

Me: 7.5 Sis: 7.0
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Watched any good movies recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:58 pm

Watched world acclaimed masterpiece Justice League. Wasn't particularly looking forward to it, when the big talk after movie comes out is over CGI problems with moustache, it was not sounding great. I feared trying to do team up movie before introducing a fair chunk of the characters was a desperate attempt to catch up which risked overcrowding characters. I hadn't enjoyed Snyder's work with DC particularly and was aware tragic events had led to a tonally confused film, reviews weren't good.

For me I wasn't engaged in first half but was alright second half, sister it was other way round partly due to our reactions to action scenes, we each preferred them in the half we liked and got bored by the other section. Visually it was fine but tone, even with characters, was shifting due to behind the scene issues, villain was decent for the moment and having a bit of oomph in fights but forgettable and some fun nods
Green Lanterns! The Old Gods! Ending credits!
. I did feel they generally managed to balance its large cast well with possibly only Aquaman feeling slightly squeezed to the sidelines but chemistry between characters was erratic.

Of the characters

Old guard: Batman was fine, one or two intresting scenes, a decent presence but prefer Alfred who brought much needed humour. Wonderwoman felt she had taken a step back, she had lost a bit of joy at times that she had brought in first team up and wasn't given any well done storylines, but like Batman she had her moments.
Superman return wasn't a surprise and felt film was trying to course correct the past films, showing a sense of power that hadn't quite been there. I liked the world mourning him idea, his hostile reaction to being woken and that this Superman had the humour and optimism. Lois was sidelined but had one or two good scenes with Clark and mother.


Of the new figures:

The Flash: I was glad this didn't mean TV show got shut down as DCU has sometimes hampered the TV shows for fear of people getting confused. It did mean Ezra Miller had to ensure his character stood out from Grant Gustin's as well as "hey see my future movie." I liked the scenes that glimpsed his background as good chemistry there
Billy Crudup as the father
, I didn't like the way they showed his powers but my sister did
I did love the Superman being able to spot speeding Flash moment
, they did a good sense of someone new to the business. In this he was used, very well, as the comedy awkward fan guy which leaves me questioning how that will work with own movie but I did like his Flash.

Aquaman: I had no reason to care about his background and at times felt like they were trying too hard for him to be cool, Jason Momoa was a charismatic presence and gave sense of leadership that wasn't really built on. Suffered from tonal shift, I saw enough to want to see Momoa playing Aquaman.

Cyborg: I have only seen him in Teen Titans and Teen Titans go so used to a more comic figure. They tried to balance the teenager with the "person struggling with being a machine" and didn't pull it off, it veered around, background scenes had lack of chemistry which is concerning and visually, it lacked something. I can see the potential for a very intresting character though

Both: 6.0

======

Watched the third of series Bridget Jones's Baby, an addition after 12 years to make it a trilogy. It is... fine, the plot and twists are predictable, seen it all before but done well enough, cast do a good job, some nice nods including return of old guard (though would have liked a bit more from old friends) and it handles one non returner well
Daniel
. New figures like news anchor and friend Miranda (Sarah Solemani) or dating guru Jack (Patrick Dempsey) do bring some freshness while it was nice that Bridget was a middle aged character whose tastes and phrases have become old as new generation emerges.

As a romance, it worked well enough with enough chemistry and charm to provide a nice warm time, the comedy works but is much centred on workplace and that fades in second half, does feel like they got the balance wrong there and loss of humour meant second half wasn't quite as good.

Both: 6.0
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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